The Final Push: Staring Down the Barrel of the Midterm Elections

Finally! It’s less than 90 hours until this long national nightmare of a mid-term election comes to hideous close. We can’t wait for the relative calm (maybe?) of Nov. 3, when everyone sleeps for a full day before gettin’ wound up for 2012.

Until then, we’ve got lots to do:

1) “Arkansas Week,” 8 p.m. tonight. I join KUAR-FM, 89.1’s Kelly MacNeil, the University of Arkansas’ Hoyt Purvis and host Steve Barnes for a final assessment of the state’s Congressional and constitutional officer races, such as they are. Remember that big exciting Senate race? Not so exciting heading into the final weekend. We look to the 1st District for any final fireworks. Also: Swepco’s 0-3 in court rulings. Check your local AETN station tonight or watch it online here.

2) “Today’s THV This Morning,” election day. Last week, I appeared on the noon show each day for a quick, final summary of all the Congressional races. On Tuesday’s “Morning” show, I’ll be live throughout the morning with some last-minute notes and maybe a guest or two.

3) Midterm Election Watch Party, the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock. I’ll be on a panel with a couple of other yahoos to give some final impressions of this year’s campaigns. We’ll also take questions from the audience and enjoy a warm bowl of bean soup before the returns start, er, returning. Fun!

4) Election Night Returns on Today’s THV and ArkansasBusiness.com. Pop up some popcorn, grab a Coke and settle in for a long night. You’ll be on the couch, we’ll be in at the parties, on the phone, online and in studio delivering the latest election night news as it happens. Arkansas Business Publisher Jeff Hankins will analyze the county-by-county returns live on Today’s THV and THV2.com, and I’ll be manning coverage for ArkansasBusiness.com.

5) The Morning After. Hankins and I will be on “Today’s THV This Morning” and “Today’s THV at Noon” to go over the results and, maybe, What It All Means.

And if this year’s elections weren’t scary enough: Happy Halloween!

The Razorbacks’ Infrastructure Plans, Home Design and the Democrat-Gazette Drops the ‘N’ Bomb in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Lots to get to this week’s Arkansas Business newspaper, online now and at your local newsstand (they still have those!):

It’s never enough is it? The University of Arkansas’ athletic department “has earmarked between $250,000 and $500,000 for an analysis of current and future facilities. Commissioning the study is the first step in what could eventually be tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades.” Chris Bahn tell us what they want now.

Sam Eifling rummages through the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s archives to see just how often — and why — the newspaper publishes the dreaded ‘N’ word. Then he gets an e-mail from editor Griffin Smith.

Fox 16 tells us why it just wasn’t worth it to try and get some Sarah Palin video on the sly at Verizon Arena.

It’s never enough is it? Jan Cottingham notes several Arkansas architects who say the state is bucking the nationwide trend toward smaller homes. Bigger is still better!

Take My Loan, Please! Hocking the Barber Jewelry, Plus More Bad News at Metropolitan Bank in This Week’s Arkansas Business

Your latest edition of Arkansas Business is online now. Among this week’s highlights:

As the Federal Reserve slashes interest rates and banks heavy up on cash, there’s never been a better time to borrow. But an uncertain economy means fewer businesses are willing to take the risk, even at rates that are close to free. Sam Eifling examines the paradox.

Word ’round the campfire is that Metropolitan National Bank of Little Rock is set to report another quarterly loss, this one in the $20 million range.

Welspun Pipes adds more than 40 acres to its property at the Little Rock Port.

Capsearch’s new iPhone app puts the entire Arkansas code in your pocket for $3.99. Nifty.

University of Arkansas basketball play-by-play broadcaster Mike Nail is hanging it up. He’ll be honored in some type of half-time ceremony at the end of this season, his 29th. Hm. Why not go for 30? More: This ArkansasSports360.com Q&A with Nail from December.

Keri Barber auctions the bling after her big Chapter 7 bankruptcy filed early last year declaring $16.3 million in liabilities, most of it connected to the defaulted loan on the Legacy Building in Fayetteville. Goodbye Lexus, goodbye Range Rover, goodbye Beluga sterling silver watch …

Mark Rose, only the third general manager ever at KATV-TV, Channel 7, in Little Rock, marks 20 years at the ABC affiliate.

Gwen Moritz on Julie Benafield Bowman, Sandra Hochstetter Byrd, Benton County Judge Dave Bisbee, Wal-Mart and the appearance of impropriety.

Beebe’s Budget, Holt Seeks Senate Seat on Tonight’s ‘Arkansas Week’

Lance Turner, Arkansas Week

Pinstripes, in honor of David Sanders. Click to watch video.

We’re back! Tonight on AETN’s “Arkansas Week,” host Steve Barnes peppers panelists Rick Fahr of The Log Cabin Democrat, Hoyt Purvis of the University of Arkansas and me about Gov. Mike Beebe’s budget schemes, yet another Republican seeking the nomination to face Blanche Lincoln for her U.S. Senate seat, the pickle that members of the Blue Ribbon commission on funding for Arkansas highways is in, and grade inflation in Arkansas schools.

Check us out tonight at 8 p.m. on your local AETN affiliate — or, you can watch the whole thing right now on your Internet computer thing!

Ryan Mallett Stays at the University of Arkansas: Listen to Audio of the Announcement

Ryan Mallett of the University of Arkansas Razorbacks

Ryan's hope

Should he stay or should he go? After that frigid Saturday in Memphis, wasn’t it obvious? Today, University of Arkansas QB Ryan Mallett made it official, calling eager ears to the Hill to confirm that, yep, he’s still on board and not-yet-NFL bound.

So Arkansas fans can at last breathe a sigh of relief. Meanwhile, ArkansasSports360.com Editor Jim Harris notes how Mallett scored crucial points in announcing his decision, not only in the PR, score-some-time-on-ESPN-and-the-sports-section sense, but in the way he came off polished and assured in the Friday afternoon news conference. Prepped or not, Mallett came off, dare-he-say-it (yes, he dare!) Tebow-esque.

He said all the right things. He didn’t repeat himself, he didn’t seem distant, and he didn’t come across like an arrogant star. Mallett has this kind of cool, hip vocal delivery most of the time, but he came across almost Tim Tebow-like, or at least like someone who might command the kind of attention Tebow has for the past three years.

So there’s that.

You can listen to audio clips of today’s news conference here. Now I suppose everyone can really start talking about next season. It’s going to be a looong time ’til September.

Talking Social Media and Business at Commerce Arkansas Nov. 3

About 900 folks came out to Commerce Arkansas last year, a business expo at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock put on by Arkansas Business and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce. This year, we’re doing it again on Nov. 3, and we’ve got a great lineup of speakers and seminars free to anyone who pre-registers.

Among the seminars, a panel I’ll be moderating on social media and business. “Using Social Media for Business, Nonprofit and Search Engine Marketing” will provide an overview of how businesses and nonprofits can use social media – including Twitter and Facebook – in aid of e-commerce, marketing and charitable campaigns. You’ll learn what tools are available, how to staff social media efforts, how to set expectations and measure success.

So who’s on the panel? Scheduled to appear are:

Ed Nicholson of Tyson Foods, who was kind enough earlier this year to provide some guest posts on social media for this blog

Natalie Ghidotti of Ghidotti Communications, who’s advised companies like I.O. Metro on using social media to connect with customers

Megan Knight of FLEX360, the Web development firm’s interactive marketing director on search engine marketing expert

They’ll each talk about different aspects of using social media for your business, marketing and charitable needs. We’ll share more details leading up to the seminar. Meanwhile, register now to attend this seminar and others for free.

More

Last year, Commerce Arkansas attracted some great speakers. This year, we’ve done it again. Among those on the roster:

Jeffrey Gardner, CEO of Windstream Corp. of Little Rock

Jon Harrison, general manager of Caterpillar’s North American Motor Grader Operations in North Little Rock

Kathy Deck, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research at the Sam Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville

Linda Nelson of the Arkansas Small Business Technology and Development Center

Greg Henderson of Arkansas Manufacturing Solutions

Lottery Execs Hit the JackPot & A Cautionary Tale in Arkansas Business This Week

We’re back in business. Here’s the latest from the Monday print edition of Arkansas Business:

Remember those phat lottery salaries everybody was so riled up about for about five minutes a few months ago? They’re big enough to put a few lottery workers among the “jocks and docs” on our annual list of highest-paid Arkansas state employees. Lottery director Ernie Passailaigue at No. 9.

Meanwhile, the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal gets some advice for all those lottery winners out there: “Pay off your debts and put it into something super conservative for six months and have time to catch your breath and have rational thoughts.”

Economist Jeff Collins, who headed the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Arkansas’ Sam M. Walton College of Business, was on the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers and is a partner in Streetsmart Data Services LLC of Fayetteville, isn’t immune from personal financial crisis, having filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy last month. This week, Collins talks to Arkansas Business’ Mark Friedman about what happened and lessons learned.